Getting Social: Hadley’s Monthly Schedule

Many of us know the Hadley School for its online and correspondence courses. The school has offered distance education courses long before distance education was cool and even before the internet first brought a lot of our worlds together.

Hadley also hosts several opportunities for people who are blind or have low-vision to connect by discussing common interests. This link will take you to the Hadley School’s calendar of discussion groups.

Of course, if you do want to learn more about the school’s educational opportunities including their small business and entrepreneurship department, visit the main website,

Navigating Those Intersections Blind

I know this is last-minute since I just found out about this excellent program moments ago myself. Are you concerned about the safety of navigating roundabouts, X-shaped crossings, angled crosswalks, and other tricky layouts? Then tune in at 2:00 PM on Sunday when Lucas Frank from The Seeing Eye will present the latest news for encountering these challenges.

Go here and find out more. If you are sighted, you will want to see the cautions you may want to follow when spotting someone with a cane or guide dog navigating intersections.

Go here for the Clubhouse link.

Calling All Dog Lovers and Friends! Volunteer for a guide dog school near you.

Have you ever wanted to help out caring for dogs, whether you have one at home or not? The various guide dog schools around the country count on the enthusiastic cadre of volunteers that lift up the heads, hearts, hands and health of those forming pups into working companions for people who are physically disabled.

Whether you stuff envelopes for financial campaigns and event invitations or if you give the pups themselves some needed play time, serve as a puppy raiser or speak as an advocate for the guide dog movement in schools, you become a big partner for those training pups to be guides for us who are blind or have low-vision.

One of the amazing events to witness is a graduation from a guide dog school. There, surrounded by alumni with their dogs, perspective students, many volunteers who help on and off campus, and school staff, you get to see just how many people pour their hearts and life into bringing puppies into their four-legged, guiding adulthood. Then more than your heart can be warmed as you explore the possibility of lending your time and support.

Check out these upcoming volunteer opportunities in February and March for some of the guide and service dog schools around the country. Whether you are blind or sighted yourself, you will be welcomed as a part of a loving, compassionate, energetic community.

February 15: Becoming a Leaderdogs for the Blind Breeder Host
February 25, 2023: Guide Dogs of America volunteer orientation

Also check out these volunteer opportunities:
Tampa area with Southeast Guide Dogs
Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, NY
Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA
Guide Dogs of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA

Of course, Boldly Blind is always looking for similar volunteer information from any other school to post.

Saturday Safety Tips: Raising Awareness About Acanthamoeba Keratitis

The Lighthouse Guild has news on a fairly rare eye condition called Acanthamoeba Keratitis. There’s no fear arousal intended, just awareness.

Eye infections and diseases can crop up quickly and without much warning. You feel that scratch in your eye. Should you itch it or leave it for some cream or drops to cure? A blurriness swims across your field of vision just as you slam on the brakes at an intersection. Should you hit the icon on your keypad designated for your eye doctor if if you have one or see what happens over the next few days?

For you who are sighted, these questions don’t always have black or white answers. Still, a word to the wide-eyed is in order when some rare condition comes to the fore. You don’t have to panic, refrain from every activity or leisurely endeavor that some may list as risky behaviors. Rather, using common, everyday caution will go a long way toward honoring the sight you do have. Believe me, your blind friends and neighbors want you to retain the sight you’ve been given.

So with no further adieu, here’s a few tips for preventing or minimizing the effects from a rare eye condition caused by an amoeba in more settings than we can count. Notice, the prevention steps look like everyday activities….because they are everyday activities for us who care for our bodies and life. Again, check it out here.

Toast Masters Comes to the Lighthouse

Have you heard of Toast Masters? If so or if not, the San Francisco Lighthouse has a neat opportunity for you which I post from its latest newsletter update.

Join the LightHouse Toastmasters Club!

Photo: A microphone coupled with the Toastmasters logo, a stylized globe with the words “Toastmasters International” over it
LightHouse has an exciting opportunity to start our very own Toastmasters club! What is Toastmasters? We’re glad you asked! Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization has over 280,000 members in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries across the globe.

Toastmasters is a place to develop skills of self-empowerment. It’s a place to practice public speaking, improve communication, and build leadership skills. Whether you are embarking on a career that will regularly require speechmaking or if you are simply looking to build confidence and find your voice in casual social settings, Toastmasters can teach you the skills to lead a more empowering life.

In order to be considered an official Toastmasters club, we’ll need to recruit 20 members. On Monday, February 13, we’ll be holding a club planning meeting. We will discuss the next steps for developing LightHouse Toastmasters. David Chan, LightHouse student and former Board member, was the speaker at last month’s demo meeting and has agreed to be our first official club mentor! Join David and the rest of the (hopefully!) soon-to-be LightHouse Toastmasters members this Monday.

Agenda Topics

Welcome, a recap of the demonstration and meeting purpose
Process for Club and membership activation
Membership commitment level
Role of Mentors
What: Toastmaster’s Planning Session (Online)
When: Monday, February 13, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Pacific
Where: Zoom (Meeting link will be emailed to those who RSVP)
RSVP: Please contact Sabrina Bolus at or 415-694-7607

Can The Blind Lead The Blind? Yes!

On a recent edition of Insights and Sound Bites, Sarah speaks to the benefit that she gained by learning from and being led by other blind people. She needed to get over her anger and other emotions when coping with her new normal. Does that sound familiar?

Many of us have learned to adapt to the contours and perspective of being blind or having low-vision through rehabilitation teachers, orientation and mobility instructors, and computer techies who introduced us to screen reading software. Some were sighted while others were like us-having some degree of vision loss. There seems to be that unspoken bond when we can glean insights from each other since we know intrinsicly what challenges we encounter.

In telling her story, Sarah mentions how she is glad that the blind led the blind, though the phrase has made her very angry. After all, according to the Grammarist website, “The blind leading the blind describes a situation in which an inexperienced, incompetent or uninformed person is advised and guided by an equally inexperienced, incompetent or uninformed person. The term the blind leading the blind is the first line of a proverb that has fallen out of use: when the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch. The proverb was derived from a quote found in Matthew 15:14 of the New Testament of the Bible: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.””

Unfortunately, the phrase from Matthew 15:14 has been taken way out of context over the centuries to mean in popular parlans what the Grammarist indicates. Because much discrimination has taken place toward us who cannot see, many irrational images of someone lacking sight have cropped up from the unemployed and depressed loner begging for money to that of someone who lacks knowledge just because they don’t see. So the perception has persisted that when the sense of sight is gone so does a person’s ability to work or contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Unpacking the Bible’s meaning, it’s clear that In the time when Jesus Christ spoke of a blind man leading another into a pit, he was speaking to people who kept the blind, the deaf, the mute, and so forth on the fringes of society. It did not mean that he condoned or approved of it Himself. Nor did He consider blindness a personal deficiency or curse. As He showed in one encounter with a man blind from birth (John 9), blindness is what it is in our fallen world and it doesn’t in itself lessen someone’s dignity or value.

Of course, we can be thankful that many advances have taken place in the way of technology, education, and many perceptions toward people who are blind or otherwise physically disabled. The reason why we want to correct our lack of sight if at all possible is to improve our perception and contact with the world around us; it’s not merely to think we’ll be more complete or of a greater value than we have now.

So is it okay to use idioms like “the blind leading the blind”? Yes. After all, we ourselves will speak of watching TV or we use phrases like “I see your point.” Many of us who identify as Christians joyfully sing the final words to the first stanza of “Amazing Grace.” “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

For the Christian, this means that our Lord Jesus has opened our eyes of faith to trust Him who is our Light and Life for eternal salvation.

We can freely use the idioms and phrases that refer to blindness as they have developed over the centuries while being glad that we have role models and mentors who are blind, the blind leading the blind to navigate life’s contours.

Low-Vision Awareness, Quick Reminder To Keep Up And Adapt

Whether we face vision loss due to Glaucoma or any other eye condition, we want to keep abreast of the latest research on how to treat recurring difficulties that arise. This is true both for us who are totally blind and for those of us who have low-vision. After all, those treatments can and do change. Technology improves our ability to view color contrasts and apps like Be My Eyes allow us to gain help with locating objects at home and when shopping at the store.

In any process of adapting to our environment, we must give ourselves a learning curb. Yes, the technology will be there and we do rightly have expectations that it will make life at home and abroad easier to handle. But, whether working with low tech solutions like different shaded carpeting or magnifiers to read medicine bottle lables, the sudden change hitting us will require us to regain our focus.

Brighter light may make our head spin or make us blink uncomfortably when adjusting to colors we haven’t noticed in quite a while. Conversely, we may get frustrated if we haven’t obtained some corrective measures as our vision blurs or diminishes literally overnight. The hues of blue or red on a shirt may make it less distinct from a blouse or sweater hanging nearby in the same closet. Buses at busy intersections may look a different color altogether and we may have to start listening for the automated voice or a driver’s announcement to know what line is pulling up in front of us.

As part of keeping up to date with new methods of adapting, Vision Aware covers the gammet, which is why we refer to them quite frequently on this blog. For more technical research on low-vision studies, you can read articles from the Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness. Don’t forget about the books that cover the tried and true solutions for Making Life More Livable, whose 2015 revision updates the thirty year old classic.

New Congressional Session, Same Legislative Imperatives

When a new session of Congress begins, our priorities still push on. That’s because advocacy for the independence and dignity of people who are blind or have low-vision involves all areas of society.

When handling legislative matters, some people with whom we talk may remember the bills that we addressed last year; others may not. Much has happened since last year’s American Council of the Blind’s Washington Seminar. For one thing, the House is now flipped into the control of the Republicans while the Senate has remained under Democrat control. Committee assignments and headship is, to some extent, different.

Hence, we have every reason to speak on those matters that pertained to us a year ago. As for web accessibility, we can be thankful that some progress has been made under the leadership of Reps. Sarbanes and Duckworth. With the advancements of treating COVID-19 and other conditions, we have seen testing kits become more accessible. These are but a few areas wherein we have made progress. Now we push on, engaging our Representatives and their legislative assistants.

No doubt there will arise further issues that impact our adaptation to the mainstream society. Mental health concerns, education matters, pedestrian safety and many other areas will give us cause to keep in touch with Federal and State levels of government. In addition, other organizations serving the blindness community like the National Federation of the Blind, National Industries for the Blind, and the Centers for Independent Living in each State will have their own legislative emphases. So, stay tuned and keep advocating!

A New Way To Vote Independently In Indiana!!!

It’s official here in the State of Indiana! Whether you want to vote on Election Day in-person or you opt for absentee measures, you now have the ability to cast your ballot independently. After the Indiana Disability Rights group won their settlement here, people in the blindness community who have trouble getting to the polls now can use secure technology that links their home computer with the local board of elections so their vote can count.

Of course, time will tell how many more people will make their choices known at the ballot box in the future. News of this kind of advancement travels slowly and often person to person. The point is that election boards across our State will count more of our ballots than ever before. This doesn’t, of course, increase the legality of people who can vote. People who are blind or have low-vision have been able to vote in any election for decades. Now, with the technology in place, as it is in many other States, voting is that much more accessible to us.

Check out this press release from Indiana Disability Rights for yourself. This truly is an achievement to celebrate!

Everyone An Advocate

Everyone An Advocate

One of my many joys I have is participating in the American Council of the Blind-Indiana’s legislative and advocacy committee. It’s a privilege to keep abreast of what’s coming down the pike at the State House and from Congress regarding blindness and other disabilities. Getting our voice heard and respected in the political world, however, is only one part of advocating on behalf of the blindness community. Rather, everyone of us is an advocate in various ways.

Legislative Advocacy

When hearing the word, advocacy, we may think of calling Congressman, meeting with city council members, and attaching our names to petitions. Recent bills have come to our attention discussing enforcing the ADA to better address web access. (HR 9021 spponsored by Rep. Duckworth (D-IL). Earlier this year, the American Council of the Blind advocated before Congress concerning four legislative imperatives having to do with fitness, web accessibility in the workplace and school, medical testing accessibility, and updating the FCC’s requirements for streaming audio description on TV programming.

As we approach the upcoming 2023 Indiana State House Session, we in Indiana will keep December 9  in mind as the deadline for submitting bill/legislation requests and Jan. 13 as a deadline for our Representatives to submit bill drafts and proposals to be put on the calendar. As you follow the State goings on wherever you live, take note of those bills and proposals having to do with disability issues.

Community Engagement

Do you enjoy playing a game like chess or Scrabble? Singing in a choir? Writing poetry or prose? Or helping out with transportation concerns? Whether we live in a big city like Indianapolis, Indiana or Chicago, IL  or in a small town like Bedford, IN or Seward, NE, opportunities abound for us to join our friends who are sighted in choirs, tournaments, meetings, and more casual discussions. I know it’s sometimes intimidating even if we’re good at a hobby to join others we do or don’t know in public, yet doing so will build our self-confidence while raising awareness of our capabilities and rights. After all, how will people grow to embrace us and our concerns unless we are seen and not just heard.

Then what happens when we go with friends or family to the movie theater? Wearing those nifty headsets with the secondary audio programming, we get to laugh right along with everyone else watching the action. People can see that we don’t always have to rely on someone sitting next to us announcing what’s up on the screen.

Consider the times you and your family go out for dinner. If you have a guide dog, your host or hostess as well as patrons around you get to see the way that dog is , in fact, a four-legged disability advocate. The sign he wears tells people not to pet him while in harness and that he’s working. How he responds to your commands to walk from the table to the restaurant’s door or to sit nicely at your feet speaks to the helper he’s been trained to be. Here in Indiana, Rep. Cindy Ledbetter will be returning last year’s HB1102 for consideration so that more refined distinctions between service and emotional support animals can be codified as law.

Employment Advocacy

Nearly every one of us has heard the statistics for decades: 70 percent of the blindness community is unemployed. Add an additional disability and that rate rises to 80 percent. Include a third factor such as mental or cognitive illness and the percent jumps ninety. Of course, as is reported here, many factors help us understand the participation of blind and low-vision persons in the workforce or looking for a job. As such, those who do work for a living serve not only their need for gainful employment and bring home the bread for their families. They represent our community’s dignity and ability to participate in the workforce.

Some jobs are traditional fits for us like being a rehabilitation counselor or therapist as certified by ACVREP, becoming an employee of the IRS or Social Security Administration, or an instructor of adaptive technology. But we who are blind or have low-vision can be teachers, lawyers, and extreme athletes. So whether we work the nine-to-five j.o.b. or from home freelance, employment gets us in touch with those who can learn of our needs, rights, and capabilities. We educate people about making their companies’ websites more accessible. We help coworkers relax with us during a working lunch when the subject turns to matters far distant from our special accommodations and toward the topics of business, production, and publicity.

In short, we are all advocates throughout the length and breadth of our lives. Everyone is an advocate as we navigate life’s contours boldly blind.